Development of hippocampal binding in memory: An investigation linking rodents and humans

Project description

Project Description

Episodic memory (EM), the ability to remember the past with specific details, is a fundamental aspect of cognition. EM improves substantially during development, as shown by work of YLS, and its implications are far reaching in predicting children’s academic outcomes. However, the exact mechanisms underlying age-related improvements in EM are still poorly understood and hotly debated. Particularly, it is unclear to what extent binding, the linking of separate elements of an encountered episode into a cohesive unit, contributes to age-related improvement in memory. Mixed evidence has been found in developmental data from the human behavioural and neuroimaging literature. This is mainly due to the lack of a measurement task that differentially engages binding in an unambiguous way, driven by challenges in measuring memory in young participants. This project aims to address this problem by utilizing a task used routinely in our labs that clearly delineates levels of binding that are dependent on different regions within the medial temporal lobe of rodents. The task, which capitalizes on novelty preference as a fundamental property of the neural system, will be adapted for measuring memory recognition both in young rodents and human children. By aligning the experimental setups between human and animal studies, this interdisciplinary project will be the first to gauge age trajectories of binding from early childhood to young adulthood across species. Our project will lay the foundation for future work that promotes tighter links between human data and animal models for answering developmental questions.